If you don’t want to go the latter route and would like to avoid the command line jockeying, give Speedyfox a look. And even if you’ve put Firefox in a ramdisk, this program can be useful. You won’t notice any speedup inside a ramdisk, but SQL optimization saves storage space, which is always at a premium inside ramdisks.
Speedyfox is a simple Windows and Mac OS X application that looks for Firefox, Thunderbird, Chrome, and Skype, and offers to optimize their profiles. I used it this past weekend on a computer that wasn’t a candidate for my ramdisk treatment, and found it worked well.
It doesn’t just vacuum the Places database, but it cleans up all of them. Just close all of the relevant programs, run Speedyfox, check any program you want to optimize, then click a button. It doesn’t get much simpler.
The program claims to speed up start times. Its effectiveness on startup times will vary, but I’m more concerned about the speed of the program when it’s running. After a few months, Firefox really starts to drag and its CPU and memory usage get even more unreasonable. Regular database maintenance goes a long way toward preventing this browser rot.
It works well, it’s easy to use, and it’s free. What’s not to like about all that?